Technology

What Can This High-Speed 'Flying Motorcycle' Give The Military?

The 'Speeder' has caught the attention of the American military, which could use the 'flying motorcycle' with US Special Forces.

A new high-tech flying 'Speeder' could be part of the future of military warfare after the concept caught the eye of the US Special Forces.

Since coming up with the concept, Jetpack Aviation, the company behind the technology, has agreed research and development contracts with the US military and is focused on its combat applications.

Although only currently in the prototype phase, the 'flying motorbike' has been touted as potentially the smallest, fastest and safest way to transport paramedics, medevac the injured and extract personnel.

In an interview with Forces News, David Mayman, CEO at Jetpack Aviation, explained how the vehicle's concept evolved into the 'Speeder'.

"Initially, we were working with a back-pack mounted jet pack, but they wanted something that could carry way more payload and fly for longer.

"So, instead of carrying, say 230lbs (104kg), they wanted to carry 300-400lbs (136-181kg), fly for up to an hour and not go through the same training requirements.

Flying 'Speeder' bike concept mock-up (Picture: Jetpack Aviation).

"That's where the concept of the Speeder came from."

Mr Mayman also stressed the potential adaptability of the vehicle once it is finished.

"It's useful for the military for high-speed cargo, they can deploy it out of the back of a trailer from anywhere.

"The aircraft can be flown either fully autonomously, or piloted, or it could be flown remotely using VR goggles.

"It'll take it 200 nautical miles downrange so you could take it fuelled if you wanted to range extend a helicopter, you can use it for transporting lifesaving supplies."

Although there are currently no deals with the British Armed Forces so far, the UK military has tested jet pack technology and drone technology in the past, as they look to modernise their battlefield assets.

But, according to Mr Mayman, the 'Speeder' really shines with its reduction of risk to crew and equipment.

"It's three times the speed of a helicopter and you can swarm them.

Watch: The Royal Navy tested a jet suit for ship boarding tasks, earlier this year.

"So, in a battle environment or a contested environment, instead of risking a crew in a $20m helicopter, you could now swarm 10, 15, 20 of these in, unmanned.

"They can then pick up a person and autonomously bring them back to safety.

"A drone that can lift 600lbs and fly 200 miles is the size of several houses and has to be recharged.

So, how easy would it be for adversaries to take one of these Speeders out?

"With small arms, it would actually be very difficult [to destroy]," he said.

"The fuel tank is ballistically protected, the surroundings for the engines, ballistically protected, it's hard to get a single shot or a kill shot that would take this out of the sky," he added.

They could be ready within the decade as manufacturers want combat-ready 'Speeders' selling at $1m by the end of 2023.